Content brand of the week: British Airways, the airline that’s looking to the horizon

A-choo! With all this wintery weather I could do with something to clear my sinuses.

Did you think I said Airwaves? I’m talking about Biritsh Airways. Cold or no cold you need to get your head in the game!

In that case, pass me a tissue and we’ll talk content.

My pleasure. So British Airways, or BA for short, has a raft of different content channels, some of them old-school and some of them cutting edge. Its in-flight magazine High Life is a classic example of the genre, with glossy content balanced by plugs for duty-free products. And of course there’s the TV listings-type breakdown of the entertainment available aboard your flight.

But every airline, even Ryanair, has a magazine, right?

That’s true. But the High Life entertainment brand extends beyond just the flight. It’s also a content hub on the BA site where jetsetters can check out movie trailers, read news and features and get inspiration for their next trip.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 15.58.13

So the brand has made its in-flight mag into an in-flight-and-on-ground mag?

Looks like it. BA is also using content in a more sales-focused way. If you check out the main brand site it’s quite clearly an e-commerce portal first with all that High Life content squirrelled away on its own subdomain (highlife.ba.com). Being e-commerce-led doesn’t mean making a site that’s devoid of content entirely though, as BA shows with its storytelling destination guides. Check out this feel-good story from BA’s Visit Australia page:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW6aP53eMJM

Awww, it warms your heart doesn’t it?

It does. And it reaffirms the brand’s persona as a helpful and trusted friend. Speaking of helpful, here’s another neat thing that BA has introduced – iBeacons at Heathrow airport.

What on earth is an iBeacon?

Very simply, it’s a low energy Bluetooth transmitter that can link up with your smartphone and drop little bits of content onto it, whenever you’re in its general vicinity (find our more about iBeacons and other future content marketing tech in our special report here). To use a practical example, BA customers with the brand’s app will find that their boarding card pops up on the screen of their device as they approach the check-in desk.

That is amazing and spooky in equal measure.

Well the customers certainly like it, and it’s a neat way of making the BA experience feel that little bit more premium than its budget competitors, with a minimum of extra effort.

So the brand is committed to both new and old ways of speaking to its audience?

Absolutely, and the forward-thinking approach is paying dividends. The brand has doubled its sales through the BA app as of its relaunch last year, as well as taking more than half of its revenue through BA.com.

Just goes to show, when it comes to content marketing, blue-sky thinking really does pay.

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More from Tom Owen
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Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media. www.speakmedia.co.uk

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